The deadline Gregor Virant gave Janez Janša to quit the PM post or else… expires tonight at 2400hrs. Apparently a last-ditch effort was made this afternoon by Ljudmila Novak of the NSi to break up the staring contest but to no avail. Although he has yet to officially break the silence over the issue, Janša did throw around enough hints to make it plain he has absolutely no intention of resigning. This puts Virant in a tight spot, because he will have to make good on the “or else…” part of threat or lose what little credibility he has left. Or, rather, had gained during the fallout of the anti-graft report.
It remains to be seen whether Virant will back off at the very last minute. Pengovsky wouldn’t put it past him to “extend the deadline” a bit, since apparently the political partied had nominated members of the State Sovereign Holding (SSH) supervisory board. And if pengovsky is correct and if this was really (mostly) a power-play of galactic proportions for the mother of all companies, the tension should start to dissipate.
You’re in a hole. Stop digging. Nao.
However, it could be, that despite everything Gregor Virant indeed dug himself too deep. Which is yet another example of Slovenian politics not being able to stop digging when in a hole. Virant is increasingly running out of options. If he quits the coalition and forces early elections, he’ll be made the fall guy for everything. Shit will be dug up on him, he will be dragged through the mud and all the bonus points he scored piggybacking on the anti-graft report will be just a fond memory. Indeed, even today some public opinion polls put him below the parliamentary threshold. Janša knows this, which is why he’s playing hard-ball. That and the fact that it’s his ass on the line as well. If he quits, he’s history. So, he dug himself in pretty deep as well.
On a tangential front Lovro Šturm, former judge at the constitutional court and president of the Council for the Republic (a pro-Janša think tank/astroturf society) started a pissing contest with anti-graft commission president Goran Klemenčič, claiming that the latter misinterpreted the law and that the report is therefore not worth a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys. Klemenčič responded by saying Šturm quoted an outdated version of the law, which sent Šturm ballistic, denouncing Klemenčič altogether and demanding an apology. After several days, Klemenčič responded saying that he will not be having this discussion, especially not in such a manner and that he expected more from former president of the constitutional court with whom he even collaborated on several project. Again, Šturm just couldn’t stop digging and published an open letter of his own (Slovene only), again denouncing Klemenčič and even accusing him of (academic) incompetence.
Letters are written, shouldn’t have been meaning to send
With Klemenčič (for better or for worse) being one of the most popular public officials, Šturm dug a pretty deep hole for himself. And as if that wasn’t enough, days ago the Council for the republic published yet another in a series of letters in English, completing the collection of right-wing bat-shit crazy which was put on display for the international public. Completing? Not really. Slovenian NSi and SDS members of the European Parliament sent a joint letter to President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy (the very same which Janša tried to screw over) defending Janša at all costs.
Van Rompuy, however, responded to a letter by Ivo Vajgl, MEP for Zares who basically asked, wtf was all the that hubbub about Herman supporting Janša. Van Rompuy’s office wrote that at no time was Slovenian internal politics discussed. With this the right wing basically got owned. Again, people. Stop digging, ferfucksake. At the very least, think twice before sending any more letters. I know. E-mail is a bitch. But still.
And just to round it off nicely, most of the public sector unions (and a strong private sector trade union) called a general strike tomorrow, disrupting mostly schools, some medical and other public services. It all has to do with what the union sees as one-sided move by the government by cutting public sector pay-checks after having already cut down availability of these services. Case in point being the education system, where the government was hard at work increasing funding for private schools at the expense of their public counterparts and is now going for the double whammy of cutting teachers pay-checks as well. No points for guessing where good paying teaching jobs will be.
Apparently, this was another case of the government being hell-bent on seeing its policies through, that it wasn’t really prepared to negotiate on anything. What it did, though, was to simply drop some plans for reorganising kindergarten level of schooling but was until today unwilling to address the issue of salaries. And when it did, the negotiating minister Senko Pličanič discovered that he really doesn’t have a mandate to do anything about it. So, tomorrow at noon Slovenia will see its first general strike since the wave of protests gripped the country.
Should be fun, so watch this space….